State v. Buswell

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Remedies
  • Date Filed: 01-06-2021
  • Case #: A172251
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Aoyagi, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Plaintiffs can recover the value of accrued sick time when they have used that earned employment benefit due to tortious injury and, consequently, are no longer able to avail themselves of that time, which otherwise would have been available for alternate uses. Under Oregon law, a plaintiff in a civil case would be entitled to damages for used sick leave under that same theory of economic loss.

Defendant was convicted of first-degree robbery and unlawful use of a weapon and appealed a supplemental judgment ordering him to pay restitution to the victim. The victim, who was the manager on duty when defendant robbed a bank, took three days off work due to the trauma. She was required to use vacation time for those three days, which she would’ve otherwise been able to cash in on per bank policy. Defendant argued that the trial court erred when it determined that the victim’s loss resulted from defendant’s criminal conduct and that that loss qualified as economic damages. Defendant argued that the victim’s “future ability to recoup the value of an employment benefit is not an ‘economic damage’” and that “any causal relationship to the robbery is speculative.” In response, the state argued that “[b]ut for defendant’s crime, the victim would have earned regular wages on those days and would not have suffered a loss equal to three days[] of wages.” Under ORS 137.106, a trial court awards restitution “when three prerequisites are met: (1) criminal activities; (2) economic damages; and (3) a causal relationship between the two.” State v. Andrews, 366 Or 65, 69, 456 P3d 261 (2020). The court found that “the evidence in the record supports the trial court’s determinations as to damages and causation.” Thus, the court held that trial court did not err in imposing restitution. Affirmed.

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